Napoleon had called his partner and asked him to come down to the Canteen. The senior partner said it was time for them to sit down and have a chat, discuss a few things about the new partnership. At first Illya was concerned, and he wondered if this was going to be a reprimand of some sort. Nothing had seemed amiss on their last affair, and the Russian was doing most of the paperwork…
When Illya walked into the Canteen, the room was scattered with familiar faces, employees he regularly encountered, and there was a cake on the counter with some balloons. Everyone turned to the door as he entered, and an enthusiastic shout of "Comrade!" greeted him.
Illya was stunned, but slightly amused as well. He hadn't expected anything like this, not from the crowd at UNCLE HQ. Furthermore, he didn't know why they were here.
He walked all the way into the room, sort of running a gauntlet of agents and other personnel as he headed towards the big cake; Napoleon was standing next to it, leaning on the counter with a Cheshire grin on his face. When Illya finally saw the writing on the cake top, it had a big 1, the numeral blazoned in red against the white frosting.
Illya understood then, as the significance of the number dawned on him.
"This is very thoughtful of you, all of you… I am almost speechless."
A secretary spoke up, blushed as she realized her impulse was so tightly woven into her crush on the blond agent.
"You are always almost speechless, Mr. Kuryakin."
He ducked his head slightly, embarrassed for her and by the obvious flirtation. A faint tittering of laughter punctuated the moment, causing everyone to feel more at ease.
As Illya drew up to the counter, anticipating his first bite of the delicious looking cake, Napoleon straightened, reached into his pocket and withdrew a small package that he handed to his partner.
"Don't worry, it isn't a big deal, but we wanted to let you know that we're glad you came to America. Happy first anniversary, Illya."
The Russian was touched, and surprised at how much this meant to him. He had no idea that one could receive special recognition just for being in the place he was told to be.
Illya looked at his partner, and with a touch of shyness that endeared most of the female employees to him in a way that was still a mystery to Napoleon, shrugged his shoulders and accepted the proffered gift.
"This is quite unexpected. You are all very kind… I… thank you."
The blond was grinning, and blushing to the roots of his pale hair. It was uncanny how a man who regularly turned Thrushies into puddles of whimpering incoherence with an icy blue glare, could also appear as innocent as a schoolboy. The women were melting.
Napoleon stood and watched all of it, glad of the friendship he had found in the Russian and proud of the organization they were each helping to build. The young American agent was happy to share this moment with his partner, unaware that within a very short time he himself would be the recipient of some well-deserved attention. Soon Napoleon would be celebrating the number one as well.
Mr. Waverly had plans for Napoleon Solo. Big plans.